SafeRide driver caught buying liquor for underage passenger at Evanston 1st Liquors

Marshall Cohen

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A SafeRide driver was arrested Saturday night near Evanston 1st Liquors and charged with unlawful delivery of alcohol to a minor – the fourth Northwestern student arrested near the downtown liquor store since the Evanston Police Department ramped up its surveillance last month.

Officers stationed near EV1, 1019 Davis St., saw the 21-year-old Weinberg senior buy alcohol at about 9:30 p.m. and then hand it off to her underage passenger when she returned to her SafeRide van, EPD Cmdr. Tom Guenther said.

“The driver, who is 21, purchased the alcohol legally if it was for herself,” Guenther said. “But because she tendered it to someone under the age of 21, she was charged.”

Guenther said EPD officers pulled over the SafeRide vehicle on nearby Oak Avenue and discovered the underage passenger, a SESP sophomore, in possession of one bottle of raspberry-flavored Bacardi rum. Upon further investigation, officers discovered some marijuana on her person as well.

The SESP sophomore received citations for possessing the alcohol and for possessing less than 10 grams of cannabis, Guenther said.

SafeRide coordinator Bernard Foster deferred comment Monday to University spokesman Al Cubbage.

Cubbage told The Daily in an email the Weinberg senior is “no longer a driver for SafeRide” and said both students involved will face disciplinary action by NU.

After receiving a complaint from Ald. Judy Fiske (1st) last month, EPD increased surveillance around EV1 in an attempt to combat underage purchasing of alcohol.

Prior to Saturday’s incident, three NU students had been arrested near the liquor store and charged with alcohol-related crimes. Additionally, an EV1 employee was charged with selling liquor to minors.

Guenther said the most recent arrest serves as a warning to underage students looking to illegally obtain alcohol.

“If you’re underage, realize that the EPD is taking that location, as well as other locations in the city, very seriously,” Guenther said. “This is one of the things that we’re mandated to do, and we take the enforcement action on these premises as an issue of public safety both for the students and the citizens of Evanston.”

The Weinberg senior, a native of Asheville, N.C., will appear in court March 14.

– Marshall Cohen

Susan Du contributed reporting.